My dear bookworms,
Today we have a very special guest, the author of the “Her” book, Felicia Johnson. This is a guestpost/interview of hers. Unfortunately, books tend to stereotype mental illnesses, and I loved Felicia’s real approach on them. I wanted people to learn about that. No one is ever talking really about them, and books tend to “fancy” them, and make mental illnesses “cool”. Maybe Felicia’s guest post can change it at least a tiny bit. I figured this out, when I was reading the “Her” book (here’s my review), and I contacted Felicia’s publicist Melissa. The author was kind enough to write this post, even though she has quite a busy schedule. I hope you enjoy it.
Q.What made you want to write about mental illness?
A. I deal with mental illness on a daily basis in my personal life as well as my professional life. It is true that 1 in 4 people suffer with mental health issues. When you think about it, we all may know someone who suffers with mental illness. You never know unless you talk about it. While many may not have a mental illness, most of can say that we’ve experienced depression and times when we did not feel like normal selves to the point where we’ve felt like we’re going “crazy”. Feeling depressed is a little more than just feeling bummed out. Depression is serious. It shouldn’t be ignored nor kept quiet. Some people may feel alone when they are depressed. It’s good to talk about depression and other mental illnesses so that those who struggle with these issues do not feel alone. I write about these issues to get people to talk about it and get rid of the stigma that is on mental health issues. It effects all of us.
Q. I love your approach to getting people to talk about mental illness, particularly with your writing. What other ways do you use to get people to talk about mental health issues.
A. Currently, I’m doing a mini tour where I go to different organization around the world to talk about mental health and even share my survival story. I do this because I want to reach as many people as possible. By speaking up, speaking clearly and encouraging others with my story, I know that it will help others know that they’re not alone and that it’s okay for them to share their stories and talk about mental illness. It’s the only way that we’ll get rid of the stigma that is on mental illness.
Q.Not many people talk about issues like this. And when they do, it seems like some people want to make it look like it’s “cool”. How do you feel about the people who talk about self harm and cutting who tend to “romanticize” the issue?
A. If you know my personal story, you know that I’m a survivor. I used to self harm. I used to cut, burn, scratch myself, you name it. It wasn’t something I advertised or showed off to look cool. It’s not cool. Self harm is an addiction. I think that some people look at it like doing drugs. There are some people who think that doing drugs like meth and cocaine are cool. These addictions can be harmful. It causes long term damage. Sometimes, just like when someone overdoses on drugs and can die, self harm can be deadly too. Someone who is cutting may slice too deep or a person who may want to see what it’s like to break a bone may end up hurting themselves so badly that they cause nerve damage that cannot be repaired. Addiction should not be romanticized nor used to gain attention and ignored it should be taken seriously. Listen to your loved ones when you see that they’re in pain.
Q.In your novel, “HER”, the main character suffers with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and she self harms. Do you think people with borderline personality disorder and cutters will find a story here that they can relate to?
A. I really hope that everyone who reads this book will be able to relate to the story. Not only those who struggle with self harming and BPD, but their loved ones, families and friends as well. It’s important to know that you have a voice. When I was a teenager, it encouraged me to talk about my depression when someone else who was going through the same thing spoke up. I hope that people will read “HER” and be encouraged by this story of survival. I hope that “HER” will spread the message that THERE IS HOPE. The stigma has to end and it starts with us talking about it.
Q.What would you say to someone like the main character in your book “HER”, Kristen?
A. I would encourage them to talk to someone. It’s not easy for someone who feels isolated and alone. The truth is, there are people out there who would rather you talk about it than hurt yourself. That’s why there are hotlines and organizations dedicated to helping anyone who is suffering. You can utilize the resources that are out there to get some help. You don’t have to suffer.
Q.Where can people check you out?
A. My schedule of appearances and book signings can be found on my website at feliciajohnsonauthor.com Also, you can find out more information and watch the book trailers for my book, “HER” at herthebook.com. It’s sold in stores near you and on Amazon.com as well as Barnes and Noble. Please come see me at one of my appearances near you. I find that the best part of my job is listening to other people’s wonderful stories of bravery and survival. So please feel free to share and ask questions when you see me. I look forward to meeting and talking to everyone.
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